defining your style {tips & tricks}

I love looking at images that allow the viewer to look at the subject and see the subject without distraction.  My goal as a photographer has always been to express a feeling, an emotion and a story through a concise image.  Portraits are probably my all time favorite way to tell stories.  Don't get me wrong I love some killer details and landscape images but there is something about people and the emotion they can emote through their body language that just overwhelms me, in a good way. There are tons of ways to try to define your style.  1) Write down 10 words that describe you and your personality. 2) Poll your family and friends for words that describe you, find the overlaps.  3) Describe what it is you are trying to accomplish through your photography.  4) Find images that speak to you and describe what it is about each image that pulls you in.  These are all really great options, and I feel like when I have tried them they defiantly got me headed in the right direction but that excursive that really helped me was looking through my own portfolio and pulling out my favorite 10 images-  then studying them and finding what is similar throughout the group.  Find that common thread that runs through all of your favorite images- that is your style, your vision.

Over the past 15 years that I have had a camera in my hands I have played with my fair share of filters, textures and crazy photoshop tools to create funky images that at the time I felt like I was putting my style on.  There were days, not so long ago, when putting a vintage sepia tone on an image was my way of showing that it was the cream of the crop.  In the past three years I've come a really long way in finding my style and narrowing my creative focus.  Realizing that when I create the image I'm doing so in my style, not adding my style to the images after thy are downloaded to my computer and I've got six adjustment layers on them.  Turns out my style is the way I see the images through my lens, the way I frame my subject, the settings I use and how I interpret the light and posing. This was a pretty big realization, and a scary one.  I don't really create my style- my style is me.

I personally love a black and white image.  I miss the days of black and white film (oh I could go on and on about that- but thats for another post, another day).  There are images I see through my camera that I know when my finger hits that shutter that I'm going to turn that image to black and white.  I don't do a lot of post production editing to my images.  I don't use a lot of actions that saturate the colors or bring in lots of extra contrast, I really like to stay true to the image the way it was created.  Obviously there are times when I didn't create the images perfectly in camera and I will play with my colors and balance in photoshop but I really try to keep the images authentic to the time and place.  If it wasn't a late afternoon, warm sunny day I feel like I'm being dishonest to the images if I add yellow to try to create the warm sun feel- If that feel is so important to the subject and shoot that I have envisioned then I'll do everything I can do shoot on a warm sunny afternoon.

There is no simple definition of my style, I can use words like: clean, simple, artistic, true etc. but they really don't communicate my style as well as some of my favorite images do.

I'm sure over the next few years my style will continue to evolve and who knows maybe three years from now I'll look back at my images from today and wonder what I was thinking.  But hopefully my clients love my style and want their story to be told through my vision.

XOXO Spring